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A Sick Day for Amos McGee

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,445 Ratings  ·  1,746 Reviews
Amos McGee, a friendly zookeeper, always made time to visit his good friends: the elephant, the tortoise, the penguin, the rhinoceros, and the owl.

But one day—"Ah-choo!"—he woke up with the sniffles and the sneezes. Though he didn't make it into the zoo that day, he did receive some unexpected guests.

Philip C. Stead's gently humorous tale of friendship and dedication is il
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Roaring Brook Press (first published 2010)
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City Dog, Country Frog by Mo WillemsA Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. SteadChalk by Bill ThomsonArt & Max by David WiesnerBink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo
2011 Caldecott Hopefuls
2nd out of 74 books — 143 voters
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyThe Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgThe Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Caldecott Medal Winners
30th out of 79 books — 348 voters

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Community Reviews

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Mar 31, 2016 Kelli rated it it was amazing
This may be my favorite picture book for children. This is destined to be a classic. It is a soft, gentle story of friendship between a kindly zookeeper and his animal friends. Beautifully illustrated, every page contains subtleties in it's classically-rendered scenes. There is a softness that translates in every image, a kindness in every creature and this is not lost on my children. We have read this dozens of times and they always point out different things...sometimes funny, sometimes sweet. ...more
Apr 06, 2010 Betsy rated it it was amazing
Sometimes children’s book reviewers bandy about the term “classic” like it was a verbal shuttlecock. There’s nothing that raises the savvy readers’ eyebrows faster than to see some wordsmith drooling profusely over “a new classic” or a book merely “destined to become a classic”. Even worse is when they start calling a book “old-fashioned”. Nine times out of then what they’re talking about is the fact that the book parrots some picture book title of the past. That’s the crazy thing about A Sick D ...more
Dec 30, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
This 2010 debut is up for some awards and for good reason. I think it's got a glorious "classic" feel in both the illustrations and the text; it is just so gentle and yet full of humor and imagination and good-heartedness and fun. Amos McGee is the sort of old man that I admire so deeply; one who has taken his old years as a blessing rather than a curse and who shares his time and his wisdom and kind heart with others. In this case, he works at a zoo and spends time with each animal there, getti ...more
Evelyn Tapia
Apr 18, 2014 Evelyn Tapia rated it it was amazing
I really liked reading this book because it was short and the pictures went along with the story. I think this picture book falls under one of the levels of illustration which is symmetry. The reader can find themselves enjoying reading this book. I think this would be appropriate for 1st and 2nd graders because it’s easy to understand for them. The story begins with Amos, an elderly, who works at the zoo. Throughout the day Amos went through a routine; from waking up,to taking the bus to work, ...more
Lisa Vegan
Jan 30, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: bedtime reading for kids who like quiet stories, animals & who enjoy being amused
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
I was sure I’d dock at least one star from my rating of this book because a zoo features prominently in the story, and I hate zoos. Huge thumbs down on zoos from me. But this story has enough fantastical elements that I ended up not being concerned with the over the top benign way this zoo, and its animals and zookeeper/zoo worker, were presented.

I love that Amos has a teddy bear, and I particularly love the relationships between Amos and the several of the animals who are in the story.

The illu
Feb 04, 2011 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Natalie by: scbwi
My daughter read A Sick Day for Amos McGee aloud to me before she went to sleep and it was a treat for both of us.

I love stories for children where older characters retain a child-like quality of bonhomie and easy camaraderie. Amos has both which makes him irresistible to me. The structure of this book is really comforting too, a there and back again plot where the protagonist goes on a journey wherein the reader is introduced to everyone worth knowing and then they are separated but not for lo
May 07, 2010 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I was utterly charmed by this book. It has a gentle humor, a sweetness and an inherent loveliness that really makes it special.

Amos McGee got up early every morning, changed into his uniform, and headed to work at the City Zoo. Even though he had a busy work schedule, he always had time to visit his friends. He played chess with the elephant, ran races with the tortoise, sat quietly with the shy penguin, wiped the rhino’s runny nose, and read books to the owl who was afraid of the dark. But one
Marybeth Batie
Dec 08, 2014 Marybeth Batie rated it really liked it
Shelves: t-l-307
I thought that this book was very well written and told a very cute story. Amos McGee is a zoo keeper and visits his animal friends every day to take care of them. One day, he is sick and can't make it to work, so the animals decide to pay him a visit and take care of him. I thought that the theme of friendship and loyalty shined through the pages, with the idea that you should always be there for your friends. It was comical to see the animals waiting at the bus stop, and I am sure children wou ...more
This book came to me highly recommended, and lived up to it all (not an easy thing to do!).

This is an incredibly sweet, fantastical story about a zookeeper who spends his time with his good friends at the zoo (and those friends are the animals, of course!).
He does all sorts of fun things (like playing chess with the elephant) or thoughtful things (like sitting with the penguin who is shy) and truly seems to have a bond and friendship with them.
So, when Amos McGee doesn't come into work one day,
Carlos Gastelum
Dec 11, 2014 Carlos Gastelum rated it really liked it
Stead, E., E. (2010) A sick day for amos mcgee. New York, NY: Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.

A Sick Day for Amos Mc Gene is a picture book about a punctual zookeeper named Amos. Unfortunately, one day Amos wakes up very ill and is not able to show up to work, so the animals decide to pay him a surprise visit. Upon their arrival they decide to brighten up Amos’s day and succeed in helping him feel better. Each page is filled with pictures of animals doing unbelievable things. The illustra
Mississippi Library Commission
This is the sweetest picture book ever; no wonder it won the Caldecott in 2011! In A Sick Day for Amos McGee, we meet genial Amos and his friends at the zoo where he works. He makes time to see them every day and they all enjoy their time together immensely. One unfortunate day, Amos wakes up and doesn't feel very well. Luckily for him, his zoo friends pay him a memorable visit. The illustrations are heartwarming and hilarious at the same time. The picture of the animals crammed into the metro b ...more
Richard Ward
Jan 03, 2016 Richard Ward rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Small children, especially who love animals. Adults who enjoy children's literature.
A picture story book for small children, it may take me longer to write a book review than it takes to read the book. The text is by husband Philip Stead, and the wonderful full-spread illustrations are by wife Erin Stead. Don't know if they are related to children's author Rebecca Stead (When You Reach Me; Liar And Spy).

An elderly zookeeper lives alone and lives for his work with animals. When he misses work sick one day, some of the zoo animals show him how much they love him. As the inside fl
Madeline Keen
Sep 28, 2015 Madeline Keen rated it really liked it
Shelves: edrd-314
I had not read this book until this week and I am so impressed. The story is so cute and the friendship between the animals and Amos McGee is priceless. The illustrations in the book are what I love so much. The animals are personified into having human qualities by the way they are illustrated. They have real emotions pictured on their faces and you can see the relationship between the animals and Amos. The illustrations are so crucial to the story that in a few of the spreads, there are no wor ...more
Jan 20, 2016 Cansu rated it it was amazing
Çizimler harika!
Okuduğum en keyifli kitaplardan biri oldu!
Oct 01, 2014 Alison rated it really liked it
Shelves: 520picturebook
"A Sick Day for Amos McGee" is a Caldecott winner, and when viewing the illustrations, it is clear why. Amos McGee is a zookeeper, and without fail he gets to work on time everyday. He spends time with numerous animals each day, playing chess with the elephant, running races with the tortoise, and sitting with the penguins, etc.. One morning, Amos wakes up and he isn't feeling very well. He decides that it is best for him to stay at home in bed and rest. All of the animals at the zoo miss him, s ...more
Kristen Carson
Dec 09, 2014 Kristen Carson rated it really liked it
Book Information:
The genre of this book is comedy and humor. The reading level is ages 5-7 and is grade level 3.
Amos McGee is a man who goes to the zoo every day to see his friends the elephant, penguin, rhino, tortoise, and owl. He plays chess with the elephant, sits with the penguin, wipes the rhino’s runny nose, runs races with the tortoise, and reads to the owl. When Amos does not show up to the zoo one day because he is sick his friends from the zoo come to him. They do everything t
Michele Knott
Jun 01, 2015 Michele Knott rated it it was amazing
Somehow, I just never got around to reading this book.
I'm glad I finally did.
What a beautiful tale of friendship.
Stead is quite talented with making books that have characters that come to life in his book. They become dimensional characters that you wish would reside outside of the pages.
Colby Sharp
Jul 28, 2011 Colby Sharp rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a beautiful picture book. In a day where it seems bright colors, and crazy art rule picture books, A Sick Day for Amos McGee is beautiful in its unflashiness. This great tale of friendship and love will become a long time favorite in both my classroom and home.
Oct 07, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing
Another Caldecott winner and School Library Journal "best 100" picture book. The mix of black, white, and grayscale with subtle use of color is really original - for example, the way Amos's sweet little blue cottage, with flowers at the window and a neat fenced-in yard, sits among the gray high-rise apartments with cracked paving stones and weeds growing in the sidewalks. He cares for his home the way he cares for his friends at the zoo, and the things that are special to him are emphasized thro ...more
Uisung Cho
Feb 04, 2015 Uisung Cho rated it really liked it
I used to wish I could become friends with animals when I was a child. The warm story of Amos McGee and his animal friends brought me back to my childhood. Amos McGee is a friendly zookeeper who loves and cares about the animals at the zoo more than anyone. He visits them every day and knows what they like and what they need. One day, Mr. McGee gets a terrible cold and stays home to rest. Wondering why Amos is not around them, the animals decide to visit him. Mr. McGee becomes so happy when they ...more
Oct 14, 2014 Ewa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Working in the zoo is a great way to learn about animals. But playing chess with them or running races is something that everyone would like to experience at least once in a lifetime. For Amos McGee, life of a zookeeper is nothing but work. Every day he plays chess with an elephant or sits quietly with a penguin “who was very shy” until one day, when Amos McGee does not come to the zoo. What will the animals do to meet with their friendly human is hidden in the neatly illustrated book of Philip ...more
Jan 09, 2012 Virginia rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, read-2012
Lovely and sweet. I really enjoyed the simple story and loved the drawings. My son loved the animals and named them over and over on each page. (He especially loved the owl and the balloon.)
Jessica Cain
Dec 08, 2014 Jessica Cain rated it really liked it
Summary and Critique:
At the beginning of the book I wasn’t too fond of the illustrations but the words definitely brought the store to life for me. The animals that Amos visited at the zoo everyday ended up visiting him on the day he was sick, they rode a bus to his house and surprised him because he normally spends his days with them. The pictures were well done but I don’t think they added to the story. The words were definitely needed in order to make this story a good one, probably because
Jocelyn Mejia
Apr 27, 2015 Jocelyn Mejia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Amos Mcgee is a zookeeper that has a very important job to do everyday, which is to is to make time and visit his friends at the zoo. His friends are the elephant, the tortoise, the penguin, the rhinoceros, and the owl. With each of his friends he would spend valuable time with them by enjoying an activity that they each loved. One morning Amos woke up feeling sick and decided to stay home from work. His friends at the zoo noticed and missed Amos so they all decided to go visit Amos at his house ...more
Erika Bowden
Dec 09, 2015 Erika Bowden rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caldecott-award
In this book, Amos McGee usually has a normal schedule that he follows every day, but when he gets a cold, his daily schedule is much different. All of Amos’s animal friends were very concerned when Amos didn’t show up for all the things he was supposed to be at, so they decided to hop on the bus to go check on him. After they went to check on Amos they all went to bed because they had a bus to catch in the morning to take them back to the zoo. Even though the animals had their own fears, they s ...more
Hillary Arellano
Jun 02, 2015 Hillary Arellano rated it really liked it
I like this book. It is such a nice story to read to a class of children. We enjoy how this story is so full of caring characters. The illustrations are a little different than some of the other children's books I have read to my preschool class. The colors are softer and there are a lot of straight lines with the illustrations. I like that the colors of the book do not take away from the story. The colors of the animals are more true colors. The kids talk more about the storyline than they do t ...more
Karissa Olson
This is an adorable simply written and illustrated story. Amos is an old man who everyday wakes up and goes to the zoo, to visit and partake in various activities with different animals. One day when Amos gets sick, the animals decide to bring the zoo to Amos. The animals do all the activities they would normally do at the zoo with Amos, and help take care of him so he can feel better. This is a heartwarming story about friendship and I think a perfect story to share with a class. I would probab ...more
Caroline Siewert
Dec 09, 2015 Caroline Siewert rated it really liked it
In this book an older man named Amos McGee goes and visits his animal friends at the zoo every day. One day Amos cannot go to the zoo because he is sick and needs to stay home in his bed. The animals decide that this time it is their turn to visit and they go visit Amos McGee. One interesting piece about this book is that Amos always brings a red balloon with him to the zoo and when all of the animals are in his room with him the red balloon is their too. In fact the red balloon is on almost all ...more
May 26, 2014 Genee121 rated it it was amazing
A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip C. Stead was such a beautiful story that warmed my heart. This delightful story is about a zookeeper who rises early each morning, puts on a fresh-pressed uniform and catches the 6a.m. but to the City Zoo where Amos works as a zookeeper. Though Amos works hard all day, he always makes time for his friends that live at the zoo. Amos plays chess with friend Elephant, runs races with tortoise, sits quietly with a shy penguin, wipes rhinoceros runny nose w ...more
Taylor Melum
Dec 13, 2014 Taylor Melum rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tch-307
Citations: Stead, Philip. (2010. A sick day for amos McGee. New York, NY. Roaring Brook Press.
Genre: Children's literature/ Fantasy
Format: Picture book
Reading level: 2
Theme/topic: Friendship
Gender: Male

Mr. McGee lived a very simple life as a zoo keeper and loved spending time with his animal friends. He spent most of his time with the animals and they all kept each other company. Each animal enjoyed different types of company like playing chess or just sitting in silence and enjoying ea
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